The US Army’s forward operating base Qayyarah West, Iraq—known in theater as Q-West—is the front line for approximately 200 civil engineering airmen with the 557th Expeditionary RED HORSE Squadron. “We’re kind of like a contractor, and we support the Army wherever they need us,” says SrA. Jesse Gent, a structural journeyman. In between their construction jobs, the airmen run truck convoys throughout Iraq.
Americans’ trust and confidence in the U.S. military has declined precipitously in recent months, according to the results of a survey. Experts lay the blame on increasing political polarization and the fallout from this summer’s turbulent withdrawal from Afghanistan.